Gecko poop, piles of dog hair, a drug den and hard, hard, hardwood floors. These are some of the ingredients that mixed together formed a breaking point of sorts in my soul and taught me something good and well.
We were brand new to Australia and had moved into a rental house we’d applied for without having seen in person. Within a short time of being there we were told that the previous tenants had been arrested for drug dealing and people still drove by, hoping for a deal or two to go down. Mmmm. That’s a comforting thought with three children underfoot. The house was filthy. Years of grime filthy. So I spent a good amount of time trying to de-grime it. We were in the middle of a five month stint of homeschooling, as we had just come out of an American Summer, then had weeks of visiting family and had weeks to go before the new school year started in Queensland. So we had this beautiful homeschooling routine, which brought structure to our lonely days, but we had no furniture, so would sit on these hard wooden floorboards. I could go on, but I won’t. All in all it was a full blown recipe for some ‘character building’ moments.
Character building seasons are all very well and good, for a time.
For a time.
But I quickly discovered that if you’re in one of these character building seasons, but happen to leave the back door of your heart open to some stinkin’ thinkin’, well then.
Well then indeed.
I’ve never really been one to think ‘woe is me’. That wasn’t my dealio. Nah. My problem was more to do with entitlement and thinking I/ my family deserved better.
That thinking in me, didn’t last, thanks be to God. But I see a lot of it all around me. And have decided that nothing good comes from it.
There’s a lot of people out there thinking they are ‘deserving’ of stuff. And from my experience, that just opens up a whole can of worms.
If you’re not a Christ follower then entitlement completely makes sense: you work hard, you do your best in whatever it is you’re doing, you work your way up the ladder and good stuff follows. You deserve the salary, the houses, the cars, the holidays. You get stuff, because of what you do.
If you are a Christ follower, then things in your world are a little or a lot more topsy turvey. The last shall be first. A goal to have is to ‘act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with my God’. The bible encourages us to look out for others, especially the widows, the orphans and the poor. There’s not a whole heap of self establishing going on in the bible, but there is a lot of outward looking, community building, watching out for others shenanigans.
And so, this is where I found a big disconnect with those, including myself, who have thought that so and so ‘deserves’ such and such.
I now believe that there’s actually nothing in the world that I really deserve.
Everything I am and have, is through Gods grace. Through God’s goodness. You see if I were to believe, as a christian, that I deserved such as such because I’ve done such and such to earn that, then isn’t that putting our own economy of scale on something we have absolutely no right to do? Because the minute we do, it all blows up in our faces. I can’t ever say ‘I deserve’ this…..when it discredits others I know, who are doing incredible God stuff.
Friends of ours who selflessly and tirelessly foster children. Time and time again they open up their home and their hearts, creating space for just one more.
My christian doctor friend who over and over, didn’t charge me what she could have, when I was on a cocktail of painkillers and never ending appointments.
All the christian teachers I know who plan and pray and do their best to protect the children in their care. The job where enough is never done, there’s always more to do.
You see all these people, and countless more, are just getting on and doing stuff, coz that’s what they believe in. So how can we say that one is more deserving of ‘stuff’ than others? This is the body of Christ getting on and doing stuff. If you’re to single people out and say that what one is doing is more worthy than others, that they deserve stuff, then aren’t you in a way discrediting all the stuff others are doing?
And I don’t think that’s the best way for this world to operate. We need each other. We need to know our callings and we need to be operating to fulfil them and encouraging each other, all the way. And the best way I know of how to keep this entitlement business far from entering the back door of my heart, is to see each and every thing in my life as a gift. Beautiful gifts.
Spunky hunk of a husband.
Food in my fridge.
Friends who love and support me .
A church family who care.
Enough money to pay for electricity, water and gas.
All precious gifts. Anything more would still be a great gift. But nothing I’ve done or will do, ensures the gifting of these things to me. That’s the glory of grace.
Don’t we normally try to look after our gifts, just that extra bit harder? And don’t we think fondly and lovingly towards the giver of our gifts?
I know when I close the back door of my heart to any feelings of entitlement, and just concentrate on the glorious gifts in my life, then all my attitudes and perspectives are that much healthier, happier and satisfied. Funny how it took a large amount of gecko poop to teach me this.